BlinkM Smart LEDs by ThingM

By Robert Cong

Finally, the holiday season is over! No more waiting in mile-long lines at the mall or listening to the same "Jingle Bells" tune until your brain explodes. That's the good part, but the bad part is that it's time to take down those pesky Christmas lights and store them in the garage for another 11 months. But wait; now there's a new type of light that can stay up-to-date with the changing seasons and can be fun to show off all year round.

It's called the BlinkM Smart LEDs by ThingM. These LEDs are much cooler than your conventional incandescent light bulbs. They can be programmed to flash, fade, flicker and glow to any color combination your heart desires. No programming experience required. Just plug it directly into an Arduino microcontroller a BASIC Stamp microcontroller, or a LinkM USB controller and you are ready to light up the night!

Download the free configuration software.

The BlinkM Smart LEDs come in three different types, each with full-color RGB LED with 24-bit color control.

The MinM is a tiny LED measuring 0.5 cm on each side, and less than 0.25 cm in height. It is able to create 6,000 mcd of light intensity. This is a great way to stay safe while riding your bicycle at night. Even the worst driver will be able to notice you in the darkest conditions with the MinM's 120° viewing angle. Best of all, its tiny weight of 0.5 grams won't weigh you down and you can power it with just a small 3.6V battery.

MinM Smart LEDBlinkM MinM Smart LED
Smart LED IlluminatedBlinkM MinM Smart LED Illuminated

The regular BlinkM gives off 8,000 mcd of light intensity. That's like having the brightness of eight candles in a package the size of a quarter! This thing is perfect for an extra lighting feature in your home or car (keep in mind the maximum input is 8V). It's bright enough to use as a book light for reading those engineering books at night or for those times when you desperately need a strobe light in your car, you can program the BlinkM to create any color combination you want.

Smart LEDBlinkM Smart LED
Smart LED IlluminatedBlinkM Smart LED Illuminated
MinM and BlinkMMinM (left) and BlinkM (right)
Compare to the Size of a Quarter

The MaxM is a trio of LEDs (one red, one blue, one green) that's more than 1,000 times as bright as the standard LED! It boasts an incredible 445,000 mcd! This puppy can practically be seen from outer space. It is able to take a relatively wide range of input voltage from 5-24V, which allows a greater number of applications from small projects to automotive lighting and house lighting. If you want to add a super bright twist to your everyday lifestyle, this is your answer.

BlinkM MaxM Smart LEDBlinkM MaxM Smart LED
BlinkM MaxM Smart LED IlluminatedBlinkM MinM Smart LED Illuminated

Now you can have your Christmas combination in December, your Halloween theme in October and even create pastel arrangements for Easter. You can make your interior car lights stand out from the rest or add a cool new look to your room. You'll find yourself wanting to add an extra lighting feature every chance you get. Your lighting will be sure to turn heads with these BlinkM Smart LEDs. Just try not to stare at them for long periods of time.
Robert is a graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Electrical Engineering. He is from Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles, CA. His interests include sports, movies, music and playing with cool, new gadgets.